Vibration Caused Ongoing Health Problems

21 Jan 2012

Vibration caused ongoing health problems

A plater who suffered permanent damage to his hands after he was exposed to vibrating tools at work has received a second dose of compensation. The 54-year-old GMB member from Doncaster developed the painful wrist condition carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS) and Hand Arm Vibration Syndrome (HAVS) after working with vibrating machinery for 25 years. He was first diagnosed with HAVS in 2003 and received £4,500 in compensation for the condition. Over subsequent years his employer continued to fail to protect him from excessive exposure and his condition worsened. The HAVS began to spread to his palms and he started to suffer from loss of dexterity in his fingers. He also developed CTS. By 2008 his hands became so bad he needed surgery to treat the CTS on his left hand. He is awaiting an operation on his right hand.

The worker, whose name has not been released but who still works for the unidentified firm, must monitor the type of tools he uses. Following his diagnosis of CTS, he started a second union-backed compensation claim. The employer did not admit liability but settled the claim for £12,000 out of court.

Tim Roache, regional secretary at the GMB, commented: ‘Any employer which has members of staff using vibrating tools must have a policy in place to ensure they are monitored and do not get exposed to excessive use. The fact that this member had already been diagnosed with HAVS and then was continually put in a position where he was using vibrating tools excessively is unacceptable.’

Nicola Shepherdson from Thompsons Solicitors, the law firm brought in by the union to act in the case, said: ‘HAVS is a well-known risk for workers exposed to excessive levels of vibration from tools. This employer has no excuse for our client developing not one, but two conditions, as a result of them failing to monitor his working conditions.’